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BIFA CRITICISES SHIPPING LINE SURCHARGES

11-20-2007 11:02 AM CET | Logistics & Transport

Press release from: British International Freight Association

On behalf of its members, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) – www.bifa.org - has reacted angrily to the news that the Far Eastern Freight Conference (FEFC) will impose a congestion charge of USD145 per TEU on westbound cargo from Asia to the UK next month.

BIFA Director General, Peter Quantrill says: “This industry anachronism is making the most of its current exemptions from aspects of competition law, hitting UK importers in the pocket at this, their busiest time, and doing nothing to remove the issues that the FEFC claims to want to resolve.

“This charge is nothing more than a ‘tax’ on success. Our members and their clients are immensely successful in serving the needs of UK consumers and businesses. This cartel-type throwback to a bygone age is determined to wring yet more money out of our members’ pockets, while it still has the chance, ahead of abolition next autumn.”

“According to the FEFC’s own figures, cargo carried into the UK by FEFC lines has increased by more than 15% year-on-year after eight months of 2007, averaging 485 teu per day. Based on those additional teu figures alone, the surcharge will add costs of just over US$70,300 per day, or US$25.7 million per annum, that someone is going to have to pay.”

Mr Quantrill dismissed FEFC’s claims that the congestion charge was required to recover costs incurred by lines from chronic congestion at the UK’s major terminals and inland terminals.

“They have imposed this charge yet have offered no solution to the problem. They claim their members have been forced to bypass UK ports and feed cargo to and from the UK, in some cases being forced to divert to non-scheduled ports. This is a problem all over Europe yet the FEFC has singled out the UK. Why? The congestion is nothing like it has been in previous years when they felt there was no need to impose surcharges,” Mr Quantrill says.

“If nothing else, next year’s ending of the conferences’ cartel-like arrangements holds out the best prospect in decades of a real shift in the balance of commercial power from carrier to customer,” he concludes.

-ends-
NOTES FOR EDITORS

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The British International Freight Association (BIFA) represents UK companies engaged in the international movement of freight by all modes of transport. A not-for-profit organisation, BIFA is funded by subscription and run by its members for members. It operates with a full-time Secretariat, which administers and manages the Association’s affairs. BIFA provides an effective and proactive organisation dedicated to improving standards of professionalism within the logistics and supply chain industry.

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